In the wake of the military attempted coup on February 1st, 2021, the military in Myanmar has utilized both short and long-term internet outages to cut off communication among the public for political purposes. Certain regions and states have experienced internet blackouts since August 2021, while these regions experienced phone line disconnection since mid-2022. These outages have been conducted for military purposes in some regions, while others have been impacted by delays in goods flow and fuel shortages due to restrictions on freedom of movement. Our analysis has revealed that mobile data and networks have been shut down in six states and regions of Myanmar by the brutal military as of 2022. As a result, there is a lack of information flow and the ability to access and share information among the public in a timely manner, leading to a risk of misinformation. Furthermore, cutting off internet access has a significant impact on the economy, education, health, and daily social life, resulting in job scarcity, rising commodity prices, and the lack of access to education and public health. This communication shutdown in Myanmar has also affected the ASEAN region’s communication sector, disrupting the real-time information flow in the area.
Loss of Connectivity in Armed Conflict Areas
On January 7th, 2023, the military junta in Myanmar shut down all mobile networks in Mindat and Matupi townships located in Chin State, where there was an ongoing conflict. They also shut down 2all mobile networks even before and after conflicts. Mindat township in Chin State experienced mobile data and network shutdown for 20 days earlier before the military did air bombardment in the area on 21 January 2023. Similarly, all villages in the Kawkareik township in Kayin State 3experienced the same internet blackouts during air strikes in October 2022.